Koko Head Trail, Oahu, Hawaii : Tuesday Photo Challenge – “Steep”

This week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge prompt from Frank  is  “Steep”.

 

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This photo could have been one of my last if not for my wife grabbing onto my shirt with all her strength as I slipped, about 100 feet from the top of the trail head, on our return from the top.  She was my life saver on that day.  Had only a few bruises to show for the fall with no broken bones.

A Walk along Los Alamitos Creek

I did a 8 mile walk along Los Alamitos Creek today.  It had been raining here continuously for last few days. Even as I am writing this post, the house windows are being rattled by gusts of wind. The constant drip drip sound of the rain on the roof is putting me to sleep.

Los Alamitos Creek is about eight miles long, originating in the Santa Cruz Mountains and flowing along the eastern side of Almaden Valley.  The creek joins the Guadalupe River after Almaden Lake. Los Alamitos Creek Trail along the creek is about ten miles long.  The creek becomes a trickle during summer but swells after winter rains.  I wanted to see the creek after the rains and was not disappointed.

As I started from my home, it was cloudy with the sun trying to come out from behind the clouds .28e63dac-bd6b-436e-816f-d5a6c5d0b956 The hills including Mount Umunhum in the west were hazy, covered in rain clouds.  The trail itself is well paved for bicycles, hikers and joggers with small detours that lead from the paved trail to the creek banks in many areas.  I entered the trail after walking about a mile from my home.

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Winter rains had turned the meadows near the creek bed verdant green. Trees, bare naked in winter, against the green meadows and a darkening sky was a sight to behold.c46fbf2c-d2cf-40ff-b804-80e8365237e1_resize

 

The creek becomes a trickle during summer but swells after winter rains.  I wanted to see the creek after the rains and was not disappointed. It was full with gushing waters and looked like a small river.5a7199c0-bb35-46d4-916f-d872776fe193_resize

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As I was about to return, the rains started. It was a slow drizzle at first but became a driving rain by the time I was about a mile from home. Then just as suddenly a huge gust of wind blew the rain away though I could still see the heavy rains on the hills.  I hurried home as fast as I could praying my tired legs would not slip on the wet pavements.  Though I was extremely tired after the long walk, my heart was full and satisfied.

Summer of 2017 – Part 5- Independence Day

Continued from previous post : http://wp.me/p73yZZ-3qq

On Independence Day, July 4th, my dog Skooby and I decided to be little independent and go for a morning hike at Almaden Quicksilver County Park.  The park is just a stone’s throw from my house and  one of the several park entrances is a walkable distance.  With Skooby I did not want to walk on the main road although major portions of the road did have a footpath.

PART 5: July 4, 2017 : Tuesday: Independence Day
The day started off well, sunny but cool with a nice breeze.  Skooby, being a good dog, decided to do his morning ritual at the start of the trail, thereby releasing me from the burden of carrying his load throughout the hike.  Starting of the trail had a steep gradient, but the path to the next junction was short and shaded.

I had in mind a short hike, about an hour and half up and half an hour down. But Skooby had different ideas. He wanted to have some side trips. I had to keep him on a tight leash as I heard a rattler (rattlesnake) about half a mile into my hike. This was a first in this trail in many years of hiking. Another hiker who was coming down the trail told me that he had also heard one when going up the trail. I was cautious after that. But when we came to creek with flowing water, it was difficult for me to stop Skooby. He had to explore and being a good, conscientious dog, he decided to add to the water volume of the creek. As per his request I did not photograph him on the act, though the gently flowing creek with soothing, gurgling sound assured me that it did not mind Skooby’s indiscretion. There was Skooby on the bottom right of the photo on the right, happily exploring.

Skooby’s act was for good measures as after this creek with flowing water, we were greeted by one dry creek after another.  A disappointed Skooby searching for water on the photo at bottom.

As we were climbing up, it was becoming humid and Skooby was panting. He was still game but seemed to be getting tired.  At eight and half years of age, the heat and the steep grading must have been tiresome for him.  In previous hikes he would always try to go in front of me trying to explore every bush.  Today he was just content to walk by my side or follow me.  I just may have missed a turn on the trail but the trail I took rewarded us with great vistas.

Reason for making this hike a short one was that we had a lunch invitation to attend to. But somewhere during one of Skooby’s side trips, I must have taken a wrong turn. It was getting warmer and I had to make a few stops to ensure that Skooby drank enough water. It was getting much longer than I anticipated. But every cloud has a silver lining. Longer hike resulted in a roaring appetite to do justice for the ensuing lunch party. Also the view of our lovely valley from the hilltop was fantastic.

By the time we were back to the parking lot, it became a ~ six miles hike, 1200 ft elevation and a good three hours of hiking.

A hike can’t be complete without a selfie. So here it is (just to prove that Skooby did not hike alone).
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May be continued as summer unfolds.

©All photographs in this post were taken by the author.  Readers are free to use with proper acknowledgement to the author.

Summer of 2017 – Part 2- A New Trail

Continued from previous post : http://wp.me/p73yZZ-3ml
Summer of 2017 had been quite unpredictable.  There were a few days of triple digit ( fahrenheit ) temperature followed by mild, even cool for summer, temperature.  So when the leader of my weekend warrior group of hikers suggested a new trail, we decided on one that will be in shade for much of the hike just to be on the safe side.

PART 2: June 25, 2017 : Sunday: A New Trail

I would have missed this hike like many of the hikes that I missed during the last few months.  After the kids left for college, need to get up early in the morning was no longer a priority. Specially during weekends, it had now became a habit of sorts to scan the social media in the morning. Normally the group that I hike with drive to one meeting point and then bundle together in one or two cars, depending on the number of hikers, to the chosen trailhead for that day.

During all these years we had hiked many trails in the area around Castle Rock State Park but did not hike this particular trail. On this day our group was small, only four hikers.  At the start of the journey we were greeted by a mystery, an old VW Bug that 20170625_085518must have skidded down from the highway above and stuck for all these years in a tree. Wheels were long gone, paints were faded but there was no mistaking the shape.  After the perfunctory selfies and photographs, we proceeded on our hike, leaving the bug and its mystery to be solved by some other mystery blogger.

 

No more mysteries followed but the trail rewarded with us views of majestic oak groves as the trail meandered up and down the hills.  Due to the orientation of the early

morning sun with respect to the hill we were on the shade for majority of the hike.  We sent our silent thanks to the weather gods because a few sections where there were no shade, sun was brutal at the hilltop.

This new trail was a joy to hike.  Elevation gain was about 400 ft, but we started at a high point of about 2500 ft. We made a loop of the trail, retracing only a few hundred feet of the of the trail at the end of the hike.  Definitely a trail worth going back to.  We could still see the remnants of wildflowers clinging to the side of the trail in many places.  Surely there would be a bounty of wild flowers during spring.

A wild mushroom fulfilled our appetite of photographing wild flowers. Satisfied, we bid adieu to the trail with a promise to come back next spring.

 


To be continued.

©All photographs in this post were taken by the author.  Readers are free to use with proper acknowledgement to the author.

Wildflower: Week 20 of My Fifty Two Weeks Journey with “W”

Last week I wrote about a wildfire on a hill near our home.  Today morning when I was out walking my dog, I was pleasantly surprised to see signs of life around the blackened meadows ravaged by the fire.  I was getting late for my work, so I did not have the luxury of pondering about it.   As I was returning back from the walk, I was distracted several times by varieties of wildflowers blooming all along the trail that I take my dog out in the morning.  During summer, the grass and foliage on the trail become dark brown in color. This year because of the late rain in April and May, one can still see some green here and there.  Normally by this time there won’t be wildflowers blooming.  Again the late rain must have helped.  Many of these wildflowers are native  weeds.  I was feeling like an ignorant fool because I had never tried to learn about them at all.  so many years have passed that I have been walking on this trail but never cared to learn about the environment that I live in. It is sad really.  We are so busy in our daily life that we take many of the things around us for granted and just go on with our lives.

As I was showering and getting ready to go to work, my mind went on drifting to those wildflowers.  How hardy they are! They are abused by everybody.  People walk on them, dogs pee on them, sun bakes them in summer and they freeze in winter. However a little spring rain is the only tenderness they get and they start blooming.  They have a very short life span but during that short life they have the capacity to make people feel happy.  Nothing else they ask in return.

So here I am on week twenty of my fifty two weeks journey with letter “W” and the word for my poem is in my mind from early morning.  I know I already used “wildfire” last week and “wildflower” starts with the same word “wild”.   I do see a link between wildfire and wildflower and I hope I can bring it out in my poem that I am about to start writing as soon as I post this blog.


This post is in response to Write Anything Wednesday-June-15-2016 sponsored by Writerish Ramblings